MPs voted at second reading on the government`s withdrawal agreement. With Boris Johnson`s 80-person majority, the bill was passed with a comfortable lead, with 358 votes and 234 against. On the issue of the Irish border, there is a protocol on Northern Ireland (the «backstop») which is attached to the agreement and establishes a position of withdrawal which will only come into force in the absence of effective alternative provisions before the expiry of the transition period. In this case, the UK will eclipse the EU`s common external tariff and Northern Ireland will stick to aspects of the internal market until such an event is carried out. Neither party can unilaterally withdraw from this customs union. The aim of this backstop agreement is to avoid a «hard» border in Ireland, where customs controls are needed.  The bill consisted of its reporting phase and third reading. On Wednesday, January 22, 2020, the bill returned from the Lords to the House of Commons with five amendments. These were all rejected. Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would continue to oppose the government`s Brexit deal, but six Labour MPs defied the party`s whip and voted with the government, and about 20 others voluntarily abstained, including Shadow Housing Minister John Healey. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, welcomed the vote and tweeted that it was an «important step in the process of ratifying Article 50». He added that «equal conditions of competition remain a must for all future relations.» He recalled the EU`s call for fair competition in exchange for a free trade agreement with zero tariffs and zero quotas.
The European Parliament expects the withdrawal treaty to be ratified on 29 January, when the next steps at Westminster go ahead as planned and pave the way for the UK to leave the EU on 31 January. The reception of the agreement in the House of Commons ranged from cold to hostile, and the vote was delayed by more than a month. Prime Minister May has received a motion of no confidence within her own party, but the EU has refused to accept further changes. The first (Amendment 1) concerns the residence rights of EU citizens. MEPs voted by 269 votes in favour and 229 against, resulting in the amendment. The most important elements of the draft agreement are: The second (Amendment 20) concerns the knowledge of the Sewel Convention, which ensures that the British Parliament cannot legislate on decentralised issues without the agreement of the deceded legislator. MEPs voted by 239 votes in favour and 235 against, resulting in the amendment. The agreement was revised as part of the Johnson Department renegotiation in 2019. The amendments fit about 5% of the text.  In a debate with the Croatian Secretary of State for European Affairs, Nikolina Brnjac, on behalf of the Presidency of the Council, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and CHEF negotiator Michel Barnier, Parliament provided an update on the withdrawal process and the challenges ahead.
MEPs voted in favour of the European Union Withdrawal Agreement Act in order to adopt its remaining measures in the House of Commons. The bill has now received royal approval. After passing its second reading by a sovereign vote of 358 to 234, the withdrawal agreement is on track to complete its adoption by both houses of parliament in time to allow Britain to leave the European Union at the end of January. This bill aims to implement the agreement between the UK and the EU, in accordance with Article 50, paragraph 2, of the Treaty on the European Union, which sets out the terms of the UK`s exit from the EU.